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Virus Buster Serge is an underrated and rather unknown Manga anime series that has somehow been skipped over by many into the genre. It seems hardly anybody has heard about it or at least seen it all which is a shame really as it has many (positive & negative) talking points. The whole 'cyborgs are causing chaos and destruction whilst merging with human tissue' concept may sound rare and insane but the look of the mech suits are something that has be done to death. However the story isn't really what keeps you watching - some brilliant characters, stunning backdrops, pulsating fight scenes and all with one of the best soundtracks worth scouring the net for. But amongst the shiny surroundings lies so many flaws.. First of, if you have some experience in anime/Manga, you'd know that many cut corners and just show a characters motionless face while they bang on - Virus.. is filled to the brim with it along with scrolling backgrounds during conversations and eyes clashing into hair. Which brings me onto the next issue, the voice acting is fairly well done in places and sticks to the original Japanese script but that in itself is the problem. Characters like Mirei bang on about code levels, DNA sequences and blah blah blah which can be completely ignored and you'd still manage to get the gist. My point being is it tests your patience (so much so I ended up turning on the Japanese audio with English subs just to process it). Luckily your endurance is paid off with fight scenes featuring bright strobe flashing effects that defines the word epilepsy.
I just couldn't give this 4 stars though, as much as I wanted to because its stylish, with mechs and scenery similar to the Manga 'Patlabor' and i can really dig the music but they could have made it so much better, further insight to central characters is what's needed as its hard to feel much for the group of people when you only know their exterior personalities which, consequently are varied. The group are known as STAND - soldiers who use 'variable gear' to enhance their battle capabilities.. shame it doesn't do much until they go into 'hyper-mode' which last for seconds... but I suppose it does make them look sharp. They basically take on cyborg mutations with the virus in question, with gun-blades and pistols as well as a few vehicles. While there are 3 DVDs in the set, the 2nd feels pretty unnecessary, with filler concerning Mirei and generally forgettable episodes. The first few get you watching and introduced to the cast and the end is set up pretty well with a typical head-scratcher, artsy climax. I would recommend this for some anime fans but it would be a tough watch for new comers even with the mellow jazz guitar solos against a backdrop of a blue sky in Neo Hong Kong 2097. The 3 DVD set is displayed well in a plain card box. The series is mostly based on character Serge Train, a 25 year old clone and very confused man, soon recruited to take down a virus that takes over machines are soon enough, those that use them. Raven, the mysterious leader of STAND flitters in and out of the antagonist role, offering advice and a helpful hand now and then, only to reveal life changing secrets and mentality.
The ratings on the DVD series are PG, 12 & another PG. In each case you get a Manga current releases advert which is also a questionnaire to fill out. The series comes with features of English, Portuguese and Japanese audio and subtitles, Virus teaser clips, character and mech design boards and the standard Manga previews full of music by the Mad Capsule Markets - Virus Buster Serge's advert has the awesome track 'Pulse' while the introduction to each episode has a song by Dragon Ash known as 'Rainy Day and Day', funky. Can be found for around 10 - 15 pounds which isn't bad considering the length and number of the episodes - 12, ranging through 25-30 minutes each.